Sunday, February 13, 2011
Living in Israel or unsolicited aliyah advice
I hate Israel bashing. It really makes no differences whether it comes from left or right, from within or from without. My opinion is, just like with other personal matters, deal with the problem but there is no need to ever air your dirty laundry in public. I don't see how it helps anyone or helps resolve the problem. Hence I am not a fan of Facebook either. I believe that private things are just that, private whether on personal or national level. The way I see it, clearly if G-d gave us this land and wants us to live here, and said that it's good for us than obviously it must be good. But good is not always synonymous with easy and instantaneously comfortable. So, I've been thinking lately and not so lately about life in Israel and what advice I'd give to someone contemplating aliyah. When thinking about aliyah, it's important to think in and out of the box simultaneously. I'll explain. On one hand, everything about Israel is supernatural on so many levels, and when one does things with faith, amazing things happen. Moving to Israel requires lots of idealism and lots of faith. We are taught that the Land of Israel is acquired with suffering. I think that is so, partially because anything worthwhile in this life requires effort and often has growing pains associated with it. But also, the way things are designed, is that living in Israel can push one to the limit and so force one to grow like never before. So on one hand one has to be idealistic but on the other hand one has to realize that there will be real challenges. Not because it's Israel necessarily but because any immigration is difficult. One has to come prepared, so one wouldn't get thrown off and disillusioned by these inevitable difficulties. One has to think deeply and honestly about who one is, about whom one wants to be, about whom one wants one's children to be. One has to come with an open mind and positive attitude. One has to do one's research and try to eliminate as many structural difficulties as possible. Immigration is stressful but not having a stable financial situation for example could make it a whole lot more stressful. So one has to plan for these things. One has to have a connection to some support system, as well as a reliable information and advice source like a trusted rabbinical figure. One has to look at the big picture but one also has to come with a plan. Everybody struggles but by being prepared one can overcome many normal aliyah obstacles and come out a stronger and better person. Lots has been written about all the advantages of living in Israel: physical, spiritual, emotional, etc. It really is a wonderful, beautiful and very very special place to live. There truly is no other place like it in the world. But like any dream worth dreaming, it takes work to make it a thriving reality. One has to have courage and strength to make it so, with G-d's help. I think all Jews have to think about aliyah. Already there are many organizations that exist to make the process simpler. Things are changing, Israel is changing and one can do things to help oneself and others to make this land our home in the deepest possible way. So here is to a successful aliyah!!!